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RESTAURANT WEEK: Banking on Help for Feed My People

Restaurant Week will benefit Feed My People Food Bank

V1 Staff |

Volunteers at Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire. (Submitted photo)
Volunteers at Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire. (Submitted photo)

Just as with every area of life, the turmoil of the past few years has impacted the demand for services from agencies such as Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire. In 2020, when the pandemic hit, families dealing with lost jobs called upon Feed My People and its many partner programs for help. 

Today, while the employment picture has brightened, rising prices have made it hard to fill grocery carts for many people in the 14-county area Feed My People serves.

“Inflation’s really having an affect on people,” said Jeremy Gilbert, corporate giving specialist for Feed My People. “The people who are not able to deal with the rising cost of inflation are the people we see in our lines.”

Gilbert recalled a situation that occurred at a pop-up food pantry earlier this year at the Brewing Projekt in Eau Claire: Someone’s vehicle ran out of gas while they were waiting in line for food.

“Unfortunately, those were the choices that people have to make,” Gilbert said of the fuel-versus-food conundrum. (Luckily, in this case, a Good Samaritan paid to fill the gas tank.)

Feed My People is the charity beneficiary of this year’s Chippewa Valley Restaurant Week, which runs Sept. 16-25 at nearly 30 participating restaurants around the region. Specifically, a share of proceeds from the Fall Foliage & Farm Tour on Sept. 24 will be donated to Feed My People. (Learn more about how you can take part in that event, which includes firsthand experiences at local farms as well as a delicious lunch, on page 6.)

Feed My People, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, distributes 6.6 million pounds of food annually, most of it through more than 260 hunger relief programs across western Wisconsin. These include the likes of the Community Table, which serves free meals daily in Eau Claire, as well as numerous food pantries and meal programs. 

Among the food bank’s most frequent beneficiaries are children. Last year alone, Feed My People provided more than 224,000 meals to kids – amounting to 615 hungry children fed each day.

While Feed My People gratefully accepts donations of surplus food, it is also in need of financial donations and the help of volunteers. Gilbert noted that many current volunteers are retirees, so it’s important to continue to engage younger generations in the food pantry’s work as well. A good time to do so is during September, which has been designated Hunger Action Month. To learn more about how you can help the hungry during Hunger Action Month, visit